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The gymnast who won 5 gold medals while four-months pregnant

In 2012, Michael Phelps became the athlete with the most Olympic medals surpassing Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, who had held the record for 48 years.

The gymnast who won 5 gold medals while four-months pregnant

Latynina received tremendous media coverage in 2012 when Michael Phelps broke her record at the Olympics. (Photo: Associated Press)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 21 May 2021 9:41 AM GMT

When Soviet Union hosted the World Gymnastics Championships in 1958, Larissa Latynina swept the medal tally with six medals (5G, 1S). It is till date considered as the single greatest performance in the history of the World Championships.

But what is more fascinating about the record is that she competed while being four months pregnant with her daughter Tatyana.

"I couldn't say anything because they wouldn't have allowed me to participate," Latynina said in an interview with The New York Times.

She kept the news secret even from her team members and coach winning five gold medals in the process.

Between 1956 and 1964, Latynina won 18 Olympic medals (14 individual and four team medals). Her record stayed intact for 48 years before Michael Phelps broke the record of 18 medals and raised it to 22. In response to the achievement, she was quoted by Time Magazine saying, "I'm quite happy there is a man in the world who can overcome my record, finally."

A Louis Vuitton ad campaign that brought together Phelps and Latynina.

She is one of the primary reasons behind the Soviet Union becoming a dominant force in gymnastics. After retiring in 1966, she went on to coach the women's national team and brought gold medals for the country in three consecutive editions — 1968, 1972, and 1976.

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